Lethbridge Herald (Newspaper) - February 5, 1973, Lethbridge, Alberta
4 - THE IETHBRIDGE HERALD - Monday, February 5, 1973 Tories make strong bid for Quebec By Peter Desbarats, Toronto Star Ottawa commentator Social Credit decision Social Credit in Alberta is one of the most fascinating chapters m Canada's story. Alter so many years of success at the polls, there was doubt that the government would survive the retirement of Premier Manning. Then with the defeat of the government under Premier Strom, there was doubt that the party itself would survive. Thse leadership convention on t h e weekend did not dispel that doubt. Certainly it was not a convention of despair. The spirited battle for the leadership showed there is still much life in the party. But for the last year it has been a divided party, at a fork in the road and not sure which turn it should take. The alternatives, over-generalized, were these: (1) to forget past glories, to slur over old dogmas, to take a pragmatic stance, a notch to the left of the Conservative government, and perhaps eventually to pick up support that otherwise might have been forced to go Liberal or even NDP. It was an attempt to put together a new coalition of the centre. (2) The course favored by the other camp was to try to repeat history, to use again the recipe so successful 35 years ago, to return to fundamentals, to keep the party's religious fiavor, to take a bold stand on principles and to trust the voters to recognize such virtue. To call the division one between fundamentalism and modernism is inexact but not false. The fundamentalists went into the convention with two candidates, Gordon Taylor and Werner Schmidt. The modernists had Bob Clark. The victory of Mr. Schmidt surprised most people. Perhaps it should not have. It was a party convention, not a public affair. Obviously the fundamentalists still dominate the party. It would be foolish to say the convention sealed the party's doom. Its new leader is a man of substantial capacity, intellegence and strength, which has been thoroughly demonstrated. He is a natural leader, a plausible potential premier. It may well be within his capacity to heal whatever wounds the convention may have left, and to unite all factions. The road the party has decided to take will be an interesting one. What lies over the next hill, and the one after that, no one knows Curing violence Outbursts of violence, such as that exhibited by the young man who shot several people from the roof of a New Orleans hotel, set people searching for answers to the cause and cure 01 the malady. In this cas\-it seems that the young man, a blac:-:, experienced intolerable treatment by whites which overcame the restraints operative hi most people. But what are the mechanisms that establish tolerance or destoiy it? There are some who believe that it is just the nature of the human beast to be violent. They contend that aggressiveness is instinctual and that it surfaces whenever the veneer of civilized restraint is scraped off. Indulging in violence is doing what comes naturally and is to be gloried in by those who have been set free from guilt-producing notions about accountability. This depressing view of man-destroying because it means that civilization is even more precarious than hitherto perceived, in that wanton destructiveness lurks in every life - has at least one serious flaw. The flaw is that instinct is not a concept that is applicable to man, it cannot be legitimately transferred from studies of animals to man. At least that seemed to be the consensus of the contributors to the book, Man and Aggression, edited by M. F. Ashley Montagu. An article by Gene Bylinsky in the January issue of Fortune magazine reports on another direction in understanding violent behavior. Scientists studying over-aggressive behavior are now implicating brain damage from hitherto hidden sources. Wrong kinds of upbringing such as being deprived of physical affection can have damaging effects on the brain making the individual more prone to expressions of violence. None of the researchers suggest that this is the whole explanation for violent behavior; it can be easily learned, too. Aggression can be taught through the power of example. It can be stimulated by the mere presence of firearms, a fact that gun-loving Americans won't face. The hopeful thing, as some see it, about finding the roots of violence in brain damage or in environmental factors is that cures might be found and applied. Curtailing the manufacture and distribution of firearms has been suggested as one solution; administration of corrective drugs is another. Yet such solutions are not without their drawbacks. The creation of an unarmed and essentially docile populace could mean the perpetuation of privilege and the subtle forms of violence associated with it. That was essentially the argument raised in the United Nations against the resolution on terrorism. ART BUCHWALD 'Oh* what a lousy war' WASHINGTON - When President Nixon announced the ceasefire in Vietnam there was little rejoicing in the land. The trouble is that Vietnam has given all wars a bad name. Howard Sufferman and a small group of concerned citizens in this country have started a War Anti - Defamation League which hopes to dispel the prejudices against war caused by our adventure in Indochina. Sufferman told me, "I don't think people should judge all wars by Vietnam. Of course there are always a few rotten ones in any barrel, but the majority of wars are upstanding, patriotic events that most Americans can be proud of." "What do you think went wrong with this war?" I asked Sufferman. "For one thing," he replied, "the good guys and the bad guys looked alike. You really can't have a good war when both your enemies and your allies have slanted eyes." "But the bad guys did wear black pajamas," I pointed out. "No matter," Sufferman said, "it was hard for Americans watching TV every night to get steamed up about a bunch of little runts who were five feet tall and weighed 65 pounds. What the hell kind of enemy is that?" "Terrible casting," I agreed. "I knew the war could never work," Sufferman said, "when no one on Tin Pan Alley wrote a war song to get the blood boiling and the juices flowing." "It's hard to make anything rhyme with 'protective reaction strike,' " I said. "And Hollywood let us down miserably," Sufferman added. "In order to have a good war you have to have dozens of motion pictures showing our brave American boys with their backs to the wall wiping out hundreds and hundreds of the ruthless yellow enemy. If you want to know the truth, what we missed more than anything was Errol Flynn. Perhaps if he were alive and we had put him on the Ho Chi Minn Trail with a machine gun and five hand grenades the entire attitude toward Vietnam might have been different." "We had John Wayne," I reminded Sufferman. "Americans are more sophisticated now," he replied. "One film on the Green Berets is not enough to sell'the people on a war." "What else went wrong in your opinion?" "We didn't have rationing," Sufferman said. "The American people like to make sacrifices during a war - they want to be part of it. We had no scrap drives, no blackout curtains, no posters warning the enemy was listening. War is no fun if you don't feel a part of it. Even if the U.S. government didn't need it, they should have asked people to contribute string and tinfoil." - Sufferman continued, "There were so many mistakes I can't even list them all. A good war requires' armies to fight for real estate. When the Pentagon decided to make enemy body counts the standard of whether we were winning or not, the American people lost interest. We wanted names of hills and valleys, towns and hamlets that our boys had valiantly fought for. And all they gave us was numbers of enemy killed. The whole thing became a bloody bore." "Maybe the next war will be better," I said. "I hope so," Sufferman said. "A couple more lousy ones like Vietnam and you're going to get the American people turned off on war for good. The realities of Quebec politics in 1973 are moving the federal Conservatives led by Robert Stanfield and the Union National party founded by the late Maurice Duplessis toward a closer collaboration than has existed since 1958 when Duplessis gave John Diefenbaker 50 Conservative seats in Quebec. Neither party expects a similar miracle if a federal election is held this year. After the long reign of the Union Nationale ended in Quebec in 1960, the political scene there became more fluid and complex. Social Credit and the separatist Parti Que-, becois emerged as important groups. It was no longer pos- sible for any provincial party to deliver a large block of Quebec seats to a federal leader. Now the objectives are more modest. Federal Conservatives, still recovering from the shock of electing only two MPs from Quebec last October, now talk about winning at least 10 Quebec seats in the next election with the help of the Union Nationale. On its side, the Union Nation-ale is showing far more interest in Stanfield and his party since last October's election. The possibility that Stanfield could be prime minister when the next Quebec election is held, prob- ably in 1974, is now a major factor in the Union Nationale's own election planning. Details of a closer partnership between the two parties have been discussed in Montreal during the past two weeks. The talks nave involved senior representatives of the Conservative party and, on at least one occasion, at a meeting in the Queen Elizabeth Hotel on January 19, the leader of the Union Nationale, Gabriel Lou-bier. There has also been a spate of rumors about contacts between the Conservatives and Marcel Masse, the most prominent of the younger generation of ministers in the Union Nationale government from 1966 to 1970. Masse, who now is 36, several years younger than Loubier, sits in Quebec's National Assembly as an Independent. The Parti Quebecois has recently treated him as a potential recruit but Masse, in the past few weeks, has told Levesque's party that he intends to keep his options open. Within the Parti Quebecois this is being interpreted as an indication that Masse is keeping in close touch with the planning that is now underway among Quebec Conservatives. One of Masse's former assist- "Does it say how . . ?" Inhuman torture in Thieu's jails By Neal Ascherson, London Observer commentator LONDON - Two young French schoolteachers, detained for two-and-a-half years in a Saigon prison, have given appalling details of torture of political prisoners under President Thieu's government. The teachers, who are now in London, were released at the end of December. They produced evidence that the regime is reclassifying the non-Communist political prisoners - the nucleus of the so-called "Third Force" - as criminals, and deporting them to island penal settlements to prevent their re-emergence after the ceasefire. Andre Menras and Jean-Pierre Debris were arrested for distributing anti-war leaflets and hoisting a National Libera-ation Front flag on the Saigon war memorial. At first, most of their acquaintances among the 8,300 prisoners in the Chi Hoa jail in Saigon were peasants who had joined the Vietcong. But after the Communists' March offensive last year, a large number of middle-class and non-Communist men and women arrived: lawyers and students, senior school pupils, Christians and Buddhists. Most of them had been involved in various non-Communist but. anti-government groups, such as the "Eight To Live Movement," or the "Movement for the Self-Determination of the People." They were subjected to the same tortures and humiliations as the other prisoners. Debris said: "Most of the students came from middle-class homes, where the child is like a king. They had not been prepared for pain and suffering. It had been hoped that this group would provide the political "Third Force" to balance the National Liberation Front and President Thieu's government, and make the ceasefire settlement work. In November, an ominous figure appeared in Chi Hoa - Colonel Nguyen Van Ve, who vanished two years ago after American journalists exposed his crowded "tiger cage" cells on Cop Son Island. He had, he said, spent the interval studying penal methods in France and London, and he brought with him a new team of combat police, who at once began to segregate the political prisoners into special cells each containing 100 people. Their files were taken out of the registry and reclassified as "criminal." A month ago these "criminals" began to be transferred to the notorious Con Son camps. On December 26th, three days before Debris and Menras were released and expelled from Viet- Letter Thieu has lost control There is one aspect of the Indochina war which I have not seen mentioned in The Herald and which may be of interest to readers - the extent to which the Thieu regime has lost control of Vietnam. The American adminstrations under four presidents have set up, and maintained, four military dictatorships in South Vietnam, South Korea, Thailand, Laos and Cambodia. In spite of the military aid supplied to Thieu's dictatorship it has been unable to hold on to most of the territory south of the dividing line between it and the North. As a consequence the Provisional government, representing those opposed to Thieu's dictatorial rule, now contols the great part of South Vietnam. Here the government, representing Communists, Christians (mostly Roman Catholic), Buddhists, and others, has for some years been effectively ruling the country. All that Thieu has left is some cities and military bases built by the Americans. In Cambodia, too, 80 per cent of the country is in the hands of the anti-dictatorship forces. Roads have been cut to the capital city and supplies have to be air-lifted into it. In Laos and Thailand the same inexorable process is going on. In Western eyes the holding of the cities is all important. In Asia it is the control of the countryside and its inhabitants which is given first importance. Nixon withdrew his military forces from Vietnam, not alone because it was politic to do so, but because he had to. The South Vietnamese were going over in battalions, with their equipment, to the Provisional government. The North has a large number of fighting forces, armed with captured American supplies, ready to go into action. American fighting men, in groups up to the size of companies were refusing to engage in battle. They were also "fragging," that is, killing officers giving unacceptable commands. Airmen were refusing to fly on Combing missions and in the navy there were desertions amd rebellion'. Now comes the ceasefire. The Provisional government is fhe government of nearly all of South Vietnam and, except for the inconvenience of it, could leave the cities in Thieu's hands until he dies. Even with the immense supply of military hardware just given him, Thieu, like the rulers of his neighboring countries, is besieged by t h e Army of Liberation, which only has to wait it out until he escapes to wherever he has his biggest bank account. In all probability he knows too much about the Nixon administration for it to compel him to follow any other course. When rogues fall out honest men come to their own! J. P. GRIFFIN Fort Macleod nam, a group of 420 political prisoners, including 60 students, left for this island. Both Frenchmen learned Vietnamese, and are well - informed about conditions at Con Son. The "tiger cages" have been restored as "buffalo cages." Each contains up to six prisoners and is without light: the inmates have to take turns to lie down. They receive 400 grams of dirty rice a day, and so little water that the use of urine to drink or wash is common. Protests are met by the throwing of corrosive quicklime into the cages. Conditions at Chi Hoi are savage enough. Debris and Menras were badly beaten up for protesting about the food. Since their release, they have received news of friends - mostly students - who have died of maltreatment in the prison: the torture room is shown to official visitors as the "cinema." From students, they heard of the interrogation methods used at police stations. These included crippling by breaking leg joints with clubs, electrical shock to the genitals, and placing prisoners in metal barrels which were then hammered with clubs. Girls were forcibly fed with oily water and then beaten until they vomited while gagged, or had objects thrust into the vagina. Methods used at Con Son and on the Phu Quoc convict island are worse, and Debris and Menras do not expect to see many of their "Third Force" friends again alive. ants in Quebec, 30-year-old economist Richard Lelay, is now one of the new Quebec additions to Stanfield's staff in Ottawa. Both the Conservatives and the Union Nationale are being cautious in their approach to electoral collaboration. In the last election, there was virtually no contact between the two parties. During the first wave of enthusiasm last September after Claude Wagner agreed to lead the party in Quebec, some Conservatives were even talking about an eventual takeover of the Union Nationale and the fulfilment of a long-held Conservative dream of a unified party in Quebec. The objectives of the party became more realistic after it won less than 18 per cent of the Quebec vote in October, the worst showing since Confederation with the exception of the 1945 election. After the election, Wagner's main job was to establish himself as the Quebec spokesman in Parliament for the Conservatives. His attitude toward the current Conservative-Union Nationale discussions remains unknown. Before the Union Nationale leadership convention in 1971, there was a strong movement within the party to draft Wagner for the job. This culminated in a large banquet in Quebec where the head table was graced by a portrait of Wagner while the prospective candidate � himself remained in Montreal, declaring that he had no immediate intention of leaving his position as a judge. Collaboration between the two parties would bring Wagner into close association with Union Nationale politicians who bitterly opposed him when he was a Liberal cabinet minister in Quebec during the reign of Premier Jean Lesage. But despite all the difficulties, some type of association seems inevitable. The Conservatives have no reason to believe that they can do better in Quebec in the next election if they do it on their own again. Compared with Duplessis' gift to Diefenbaker in 1958, the Union Nationale now isn't in a position to do more than throw a few scraps to the Conservatives. Only a year ago, a party-sponsored opinion survey gave it less than four-per-cent support among Quebec voters, and Loubier said publicly that the party was 'flat broke." Since then, its funds have been replenished by the sale of the Montreal daily, Montreal-Matin, and two social clubs formerly owned by the party. Earlier this month, it was able to produce 2,000 militants and a fair show of enthusiasm in Montreal when Loubier convoked an executive meeting of the party. What the Conservatives really have their eye on are the party organizations in the 17 provincial seats now held by the Union Nationale. It is in these rural strongholds that the Conservatives see the prospect of at least 10 federal seats. If the Union Nationale contributed to a majority Conservative victory in the next federal election, the federal party would be in a position to give it a new lease on life in the next Quebec campaign. This alliance has seemed more and more inevitable to both parties as the discussions have progressed. In Montreal this week, one of the Conservative officials was asked what factors in future can improve his party's chances in Quebec. "You can say it in a word," he replied. "Power.' 'Crazy Capers' Perhaps we can now talk to each other again! The Lethbridge Herald 504 7th St. S., Lethbridge, Alberta LETHBRIDGE HERALD ^O. LTD., Proprietors and Publishert Published 1905 -1954, by Hon. W. A. BUCHANAN Second Class Mall Registration No. 0012 Member of The Canadian Press and the Canadian Dally Newspaper Publishers' Association and the Audit Bureau of Circulations CLEO W. MOWERS, Editor and Publisher THOMAS H. ADAMS, General Manager DON PILLING WILLIAM HAY Managing Editor Associate Editor ROY F. MILES DOUGLAS K. WALKER Advertising Manager Editorial Page Editor "THE HERALD SERVES THE SOUTH"